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Intermediate spanish for dummies


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by Gail Stein



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Int
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by Gail Stein


Intermediate Spanish For Dummies®
Published by
Wiley Publishing, Inc.
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About the Author
Gail Stein, MA, is a retired language instructor who taught in New York City public junior and
senior high schools for more than 33 years. She has authored several French and Spanish books,
including CliffsQuickReview French I and II, CliffsStudySolver Spanish I and II, 575+ French Verbs,
and Webster’s Spanish Grammar Handbook. Gail is a multiple-time honoree in Who’s Who Among
America’s Teachers.



Dedication
This book is dedicated to the memory of my father, Jack Bernstein, who will always be there for
me.
This book is also dedicated to my husband, Douglas, for his love and patience; to my wonderful
children, Eric, Michael, and Katherine, for their encouragement and support; and to my mother,
Sara Bernstein, for always rooting for me.

Author’s Acknowledgments
Many thanks to Michael Lewis, my acquisitions editor, who was so helpful in getting this book
off the ground. To Stephen R. Clark, my project editor, and Josh Dials, my copy editor, whose
excellent editing skills and suggestions made this book a reality. To Dr. Victor E. Krebs, whose
technical expertise and input were invaluable. And to all the other people at Wiley for their
patience and help.


Publisher’s Acknowledgments
We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration form located at
www.dummies.com/register/.
Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:
Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Composition Services

Project Editor: Stephen R. Clark

Project Coordinator: Patrick Redmond

Acquisitions Editor: Michael Lewis

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Brooke Graczyk, Stephanie D. Jumper, Laura Pence

Copy Editor: Josh Dials
Technical Editor: Dr. Victor E. Krebs, Associate Professor
of Spanish, Marian College

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Indexer: Broccoli Information Mgt.

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Publishing for Technology Dummies
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Composition Services
Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services
Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


Contents at a Glance
Introduction.................................................................................1
Part I: Reviewing the Basics .........................................................7
Chapter 1: Looking at Some Everyday Basics ..........................................................................................9
Chapter 2: Selecting the Proper Part of Speech .....................................................................................27

Part II: Writing in the Present.....................................................37
Chapter 3: Sorting Out Word Gender.......................................................................................................39
Chapter 4: Writing in the Present with Action........................................................................................61
Chapter 5: Getting Answers with the Right Questions ..........................................................................81
Chapter 6: Doing It Right Now: Gerunds and the Present Progressive ..............................................95
Chapter 7: Expressing Yourself with Subjunctive Feeling ...................................................................105

Part III: Writing for Specific Clarity ..........................................125
Chapter 8: Coloring Your Sentences with Adjectives and Adverbs ...................................................127
Chapter 9: Getting Attention with Commands .....................................................................................145
Chapter 10: Being Clear and Concise with Object Pronouns..............................................................165
Chapter 11: Reflecting on Reflexive Pronouns and Verbs ...................................................................181
Chapter 12: Preparing to Connect with Prepositions ..........................................................................195

Part IV: Writing in the Past and in the Future ............................209
Chapter 13: Leaving It Completely in the Past......................................................................................211
Chapter 14: Looking Back with the Imperfect ......................................................................................225
Chapter 15: Seeing into the Future.........................................................................................................239

Part V: The Part of Tens ............................................................249
Chapter 16: Ten Most Common Writing Mistakes in Spanish.............................................................251
Chapter 17: Ten Tips for Writing Well in Spanish.................................................................................257
Chapter 18: Ten Important Verb Distinctions.......................................................................................263

Part VI: Appendixes..................................................................267
Appendix A: Verb Charts .........................................................................................................................269
Appendix B: English-to-Spanish Dictionary ..........................................................................................279
Appendix C: Spanish-to-English Dictionary ..........................................................................................287

Index.......................................................................................303



Table of Contents
Introduction .................................................................................1
About This Book.........................................................................................................................1
Conventions Used in This Book ...............................................................................................2
Foolish Assumptions .................................................................................................................2
How This Book Is Organized.....................................................................................................3
Part I: Reviewing the Basics ............................................................................................3
Part II: Writing in the Present..........................................................................................3
Part III: Writing for Specific Clarity ................................................................................3
Part IV: Writing in the Past and in the Future ...............................................................4
Part V: The Part of Tens...................................................................................................4
Part VI: Appendixes..........................................................................................................4
Icons Used in This Book............................................................................................................4
Where to Go from Here..............................................................................................................5

Part I: Reviewing the Basics ..........................................................7
Chapter 1: Looking at Some Everyday Basics ...................................................................9
Focusing on Spanish Numbers .................................................................................................9
Cardinal numbers .............................................................................................................9
Ordinal numbers.............................................................................................................13
Making Dates ............................................................................................................................16
Days..................................................................................................................................16
Months.............................................................................................................................17
Writing dates...................................................................................................................18
Telling Time ..............................................................................................................................20
Answer Key ...............................................................................................................................25

Chapter 2: Selecting the Proper Part of Speech .............................................................27
Identifying and Using Parts of Speech...................................................................................27
Nouns ...............................................................................................................................28
Pronouns .........................................................................................................................29
Verbs ................................................................................................................................30
Adjectives........................................................................................................................30
Adverbs ...........................................................................................................................31
Utilizing a Bilingual Dictionary...............................................................................................33
Answer Key ...............................................................................................................................36

Part II: Writing in the Present .....................................................37
Chapter 3: Sorting Out Word Gender.................................................................................39
Marking Gender with Definite Articles ..................................................................................39
Identifying the definite articles.....................................................................................40
Using the definite articles .............................................................................................40


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Omission of the definite articles ..................................................................................41
Contractions with the definite articles........................................................................42
The neuter lo...................................................................................................................42
Marking Gender with Indefinite Articles ...............................................................................42
Identifying the indefinite articles .................................................................................42
Omission of the indefinite articles ...............................................................................43
Person, Place, or Thing for $200: Using Demonstrative Adjectives and Pronouns .........45
Dealing with demonstrative adjectives .......................................................................45
Forming sentences with demonstrative pronouns ....................................................46
Pitting Masculine versus Feminine in the World of Spanish Singular Nouns ...................48
Reverse-gender nouns ...................................................................................................49
Nouns that are the same for both genders .................................................................49
Nouns whose meanings change ...................................................................................50
Special cases ...................................................................................................................50
Adding to Your Knowledge with Noun Plurals .....................................................................52
These Are My Things! Expressing Possession .....................................................................54
Using de ...........................................................................................................................54
Utilizing possessive adjectives.....................................................................................54
Replacing nouns with possessive pronouns...............................................................55
Answer Key ...............................................................................................................................57

Chapter 4: Writing in the Present with Action ................................................................61
Using Subject Pronouns ..........................................................................................................61
Applying subject pronouns...........................................................................................62
Omitting subject pronouns ...........................................................................................64
Writing (And Talking) in the Present .....................................................................................64
Regular verbs ..................................................................................................................65
Verbs with spelling changes .........................................................................................68
Verbs with stem changes...............................................................................................68
Verbs with spelling and stem changes ........................................................................71
Irregular verbs ................................................................................................................73
Expressions with irregular verbs .................................................................................76
Answer Key ...............................................................................................................................79

Chapter 5: Getting Answers with the Right Questions ..................................................81
Inquiring in Spanish .................................................................................................................81
Asking yes/no questions ...............................................................................................81
Asking for information ...................................................................................................83
Becoming a Yes (Or No) Man: Answering Questions in Spanish .......................................88
Answering yes.................................................................................................................88
Answering no ..................................................................................................................88
Answering information questions ...............................................................................91
Answer Key ..............................................................................................................................93

Chapter 6: Doing It Right Now: Gerunds and the Present Progressive .....................95
Gerunds: Putting the -ing in Everything ................................................................................95
Forming the Gerunds of Regular Verbs .................................................................................96
Forming the Gerunds of Stem-Changing and Irregular Verbs.............................................96
The Present Progressive: Expressing an Action in Progress ..............................................98
Using estar.......................................................................................................................99
Using other verbs ...........................................................................................................99
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................103


Table of Contents
Chapter 7: Expressing Yourself with Subjunctive Feeling..........................................105
Forming the Present Subjunctive.........................................................................................105
Regular verbs ................................................................................................................106
Verbs irregular in the yo form ....................................................................................107
Verbs with spelling changes .......................................................................................108
Verbs with stem changes.............................................................................................109
Verbs with spelling and stem changes ......................................................................110
Irregular verbs ..............................................................................................................111
Spanning the Uses of the Present Subjunctive...................................................................113
After impersonal expressions.....................................................................................114
To express wishing, emotion, need, and doubt........................................................117
After adjectives that express feelings or emotions .................................................119
In relative clauses.........................................................................................................120
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................122

Part III: Writing for Specific Clarity ...........................................125
Chapter 8: Coloring Your Sentences with Adjectives and Adverbs..........................127
Describing People and Things with Adjectives..................................................................127
Agreement of adjectives ..............................................................................................128
Positioning of adjectives .............................................................................................133
Shortened forms of adjectives....................................................................................134
Describing Verbs with Adverbs............................................................................................135
Forming adverbs...........................................................................................................135
Positioning of adverbs.................................................................................................138
Making Comparisons .............................................................................................................139
Comparisons of equality .............................................................................................139
Comparisons of inequality ..........................................................................................140
The superlative.............................................................................................................140
Irregular comparatives ................................................................................................140
The absolute superlative.............................................................................................142
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................143

Chapter 9: Getting Attention with Commands ...............................................................145
The Imperative Mood ............................................................................................................145
Forming Formal Commands .................................................................................................146
Commanding with regular verbs ................................................................................146
Commanding with other verbs...................................................................................147
Issuing Informal Commands .................................................................................................151
Giving singular commands with tú ............................................................................151
Giving plural commands with vosotros ....................................................................156
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................162

Chapter 10: Being Clear and Concise with Object Pronouns.....................................165
Dealing Directly with Direct Object Pronouns ...................................................................166
Understanding direct object pronouns .....................................................................166
Getting personal with the personal a ........................................................................167
Using Indirect Object Pronouns ...........................................................................................168
Selecting a Direct or an Indirect Object Pronoun ..............................................................170
Common Spanish verbs requiring a direct object ...................................................171
Common Spanish verbs requiring an indirect object..............................................171

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Placing Object Pronouns Correctly .....................................................................................172
Doing Double Duty with Double Object Pronouns ............................................................174
Getting by with Gustar and Other Similar Verbs................................................................176
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................179

Chapter 11: Reflecting on Reflexive Pronouns and Verbs...........................................181
Recognizing and Using Reflexive Verbs...............................................................................181
Using Reflexive Verbs in Special Cases ...............................................................................184
Considering Verbs with Special Reflexive Meanings .........................................................186
Using Reflexive Pronouns .....................................................................................................188
Properly Placing Reflexive Pronouns ..................................................................................190
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................193

Chapter 12: Preparing to Connect with Prepositions...................................................195
Reviewing Common Spanish Prepositions .........................................................................195
Distinguishing One Preposition from Another ...................................................................197
A ....................................................................................................................................197
De....................................................................................................................................198
En and hasta..................................................................................................................198
Por and para..................................................................................................................199
Focusing on Prepositions Used with Infinitives .................................................................200
Spanish verbs requiring a ...........................................................................................200
Spanish verbs requiring de .........................................................................................202
Spanish verbs requiring en .........................................................................................202
Spanish verbs requiring con .......................................................................................203
Spanish verbs requiring no preposition....................................................................203
Using Prepositional Pronouns ..............................................................................................205
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................207

Part IV: Writing in the Past and in the Future .............................209
Chapter 13: Leaving It Completely in the Past...............................................................211
Forming the Preterit ..............................................................................................................211
Regular verbs ................................................................................................................211
Verbs with spelling changes .......................................................................................213
Verbs with stem changes.............................................................................................215
Irregular verbs ..............................................................................................................216
Using the Preterit ...................................................................................................................221
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................223

Chapter 14: Looking Back with the Imperfect...............................................................225
Perfecting the Imperfect........................................................................................................225
Forming the imperfect of regular verbs ....................................................................226
Forming the imperfect of irregular verbs..................................................................227
Uses of the Imperfect.............................................................................................................228
Comparing the Preterit and the Imperfect..........................................................................229
Clues to the preterit .....................................................................................................231
Clues to the imperfect .................................................................................................231
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................235


Table of Contents
Chapter 15: Seeing into the Future ..................................................................................239
Forming and Expressing the Future.....................................................................................239
Discussing the future by using the present ..............................................................239
Using ir + a to express the near future ......................................................................240
Sending regular verbs to the future ...........................................................................241
Sending irregular verbs to the future ........................................................................243
Using the Future Tense to Foretell, Predict, and Wonder .................................................244
Answer Key .............................................................................................................................247

Part V: The Part of Tens ............................................................249
Chapter 16: Ten Most Common Writing Mistakes in Spanish ....................................251
Confusing Gender Differences ..............................................................................................251
Insisting on Word for Word Translations ............................................................................252
Forgetting the Personal a ......................................................................................................252
Using the Indefinite Article with an Unqualified Profession.............................................252
Mixing Up Por and Para.........................................................................................................253
Confusing Direct and Indirect Objects ................................................................................253
Misusing Gustar and Similar Verbs ......................................................................................255
Forgetting about Idioms with Tener ....................................................................................255
Using the Incorrect Past Tense (Preterit or the Imperfect)..............................................256
Ignoring the Subjunctive .......................................................................................................256

Chapter 17: Ten Tips for Writing Well in Spanish.........................................................257
Write in Complete Sentences................................................................................................257
Use Correct Punctuation.......................................................................................................258
Avoid Slang .............................................................................................................................258
Steer Clear of False Assumptions.........................................................................................259
Watch Out for Subject/Verb Agreement ..............................................................................259
Select the Appropriate Verb Tense/Mood...........................................................................260
Correct Dangling Prepositions .............................................................................................260
Select the Proper Pronoun....................................................................................................261
Rely on the Net and Your Computer....................................................................................261
Proofread Your Work .............................................................................................................262

Chapter 18: Ten Important Verb Distinctions .................................................................263
Ser versus Estar......................................................................................................................263
Saber versus Conocer............................................................................................................264
Tomar versus Llevar ..............................................................................................................264
Deber versus Tener Que........................................................................................................265
Preguntar versus Pedir..........................................................................................................265
Jugar versus Tocar.................................................................................................................265
Gastar versus Pasar ...............................................................................................................266
Dejar versus Salir ...................................................................................................................266
Volver versus Devolver .........................................................................................................266
Poder versus Saber................................................................................................................266

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Part VI: Appendixes ..................................................................267
Appendix A: Verb Charts ...................................................................................................269
Regular Verbs..........................................................................................................................269
-ar verbs.........................................................................................................................269
-er verbs.........................................................................................................................269
-ir verbs..........................................................................................................................270
Stem-Changing Verbs .............................................................................................................270
-ar verbs.........................................................................................................................271
-er verbs.........................................................................................................................271
-ir verbs..........................................................................................................................272
-uir verbs (except -guir)...............................................................................................272
-eer verbs.......................................................................................................................273
-iar verbs........................................................................................................................273
-uar verbs ......................................................................................................................273
Spelling-Change Verbs ...........................................................................................................273
-car verbs.......................................................................................................................273
-gar verbs.......................................................................................................................274
-zar verbs.......................................................................................................................274
Consonant + -cer or -cir verbs ....................................................................................274
Vowel + -cer or -cir verbs.............................................................................................274
-ger or -gir verbs ...........................................................................................................275
-uir verbs .......................................................................................................................275
Irregular Verbs........................................................................................................................275

Appendix B: English-to-Spanish Dictionary..................................................................279
Appendix C: Spanish-to-English Dictionary..................................................................287

Index .......................................................................................303


Introduction

A

s someone who has surpassed the beginning level of Spanish, you consider yourself
rather proficient in the language and want to discover more. So, here you are, eager to
jump up to a higher level and perfect your skills. That’s fantastic! Whether you’re planning a
trip, engaging in business with Spanish speakers, or are just a lover of languages, Intermediate
Spanish For Dummies will help you reach your goals painlessly and effortlessly as you
enhance your Spanish language writing skills.
When it comes to using a foreign language, you may be shy about speaking it, but I’m willing
to bet that you’re much more intimidated by writing it. Writing demands a bit more precision.
My main goal is to help you become more comfortable with your Spanish language writing
skills.
Intermediate Spanish For Dummies not only presents you with all the grammar you need to
know to communicate on an intermediate level, but also provides you with clear examples
and interesting and useful exercises that will help you hone your Spanish writing skills. I give
you the opportunity to put what you’ve learned to work and to express your thoughts and
ideas in writing. If you can finish the exercises in a flash, you know you’ve mastered the material well. Some exercises, of course, present more of a challenge and require additional attention and focus. That’s to be expected. Just keep in mind that after you finish all the chapters,
you’ll be a full-fledged intermediate Spanish graduate! Feel free to brag to friends.

About This Book
Intermediate Spanish For Dummies is a refresher course, a reference book, and a workbook
for people who have some experience with and knowledge of the fundamentals of Spanish
and want to take their knowledge to the next level. It serves as a logical extension and complement to the ever-popular Spanish For Dummies, by Susana Wald (Wiley). If you want to get
“up to speed” with language structures so that you can communicate comfortably and proficiently, especially with the written word, this book is for you.
Each chapter in this book presents a different topic that affords you the opportunity to practice your written communication skills by completing, or actually writing, e-mails, postcards,
text messages, journal entries, and letters. I reinforce nuances of style, usage, and grammar
rules every step of the way so that you learn and practice how native speakers and writers
use the language. I also include plenty of examples to guide you through the rules and exercises and to expose you to colloquial, everyday, correct Spanish that native speakers expect
to hear from someone using Spanish.
Before you move on, I must reiterate an important point: This is a workbook! Don’t be afraid
to write in it. Use your favorite pink highlighter or your trusty red pen to underline the points
you want to remember. Don’t recite the exercise answers in your head! That doesn’t help you
practice your writing skills. Put all the answers down on paper and commit to them before
checking them in the Answer Key at the end of each chapter. This technique will help you get
the most knowledge out of this book.


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Intermediate Spanish For Dummies

Conventions Used in This Book
In order to highlight the most important information and to help you navigate this
book more easily, I’ve set up several conventions:
ߜ Spanish terms and sentences, as well as endings or stems I want to highlight, are
set in boldface to make them stand out.
ߜ English equivalents, set in italics, follow the Spanish examples.
ߜ An Answer Key appears at the end of every chapter. The key provides the correct
answers to all practice activities within the chapter. The parts of the answers that
you must provide appear in bold. In the more difficult activities, I include explanations for the correct answers.
ߜ You’ll see many abbreviations throughout the book. Don’t let them throw you.
For instance, you may find the following:
• fem. (feminine)
• fam. (familiar)
• masc. (masculine)
• pol. (polite)
• sing. (singular)
• pl. (plural)
Here’s what you won’t find in this book: Tons of translation exercises. Why not?
Because you can’t speak a foreign language colloquially or fluently if you try to translate your thoughts word for word from one language to the next. Language-acquisition
experiments have proven that this learning method simply doesn’t work, so translation exercises were long ago removed from textbooks across the country. To pick up a
new language the way a child learns his or her first language, you must immerse yourself in the language so that you begin thinking in that language — and you can’t do that
by slowly and painfully translating one word at a time.
You will find some guided compositions that prompt you to express certain thoughts
in this book. Don’t, however, feel that you must translate the sentences given to you
exactly as they appear. The Spanish language has its individual idioms and idiomatic
expressions that give it color and flair. Here’s a quick example: To say that it’s sunny
outside in Spanish, you remark: Hace sol. The literal English translation of this expression is It is making sun. Even my dear old grandma wouldn’t have spoken English like
that! Well, make sure you don’t speak Spanish that way, either.

Foolish Assumptions
When writing this book, I made the following assumptions about you, my dear reader:
ߜ You have some experience with and knowledge of the fundamentals of Spanish
grammar. You’re looking for the opportunity to review what you’ve already mastered and are intent on moving forward to new areas of knowledge.


Introduction
ߜ You can speak Spanish fairly well and are more interested in improving your writing skills.
ߜ You want to perfect your Spanish because you’re planning a trip, conducting
business, or are a foreign-language student.
ߜ You want to speak and write Spanish colloquially, like a native does, and you
want to use Spanish in practical, everyday applications.
ߜ You want a book that’s complete but isn’t so advanced that you get lost in the
rules. I try to explain the rules as clearly as possible without using too many
grammatical terms. I’ve left out the most advanced grammar because you simply
don’t need it to be understood in everyday situations. Keep it clean and simple
and you’ll do just fine, and others will appreciate your honest attempts at communicating in another language.

How This Book Is Organized
I’ve divided Intermediate Spanish For Dummies into six parts so that you can focus on
whatever suits your fancy at the moment. Feel free to skip parts that you feel you
already know or that are irrelevant to you. The following sections outline the focus of
the six parts of this book.

Part I: Reviewing the Basics
In this part, you review the vocabulary and knowledge of numbers that you need daily
when using Spanish. Right from the first chapter, you’re given a working vocabulary
that will help you express yourself in most situations. I also give a quick grammar
review as a refresher to what you’ve mastered on the elementary level. Finally,
although you may think you’re a pro at finding the right word in the dictionary, this
part will show you how to avoid making common errors.

Part II: Writing in the Present
This part shows you how to write in the present tense, using verbs that are regular and
verbs that are really quite quirky. You practice asking and answering yes/no questions,
as well as questions that ask for information. I also introduce the present progressive
tense, which allows you to express actions that are taking place as we speak, and the
mysteries of the present subjunctive — with clear explanations and examples.

Part III: Writing for Specific Clarity
This part takes you on a tour of fundamental Spanish grammar: nouns, adjectives,
adverbs, comparisons, direct and indirect object pronouns, commands, reflexive
verbs, and prepositions. These topics reflect the building blocks of the language;
you just can’t write clearly without them. You discover how Spanish differs from
English because of rules regarding gender (masculine or feminine forms of nouns

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Intermediate Spanish For Dummies
and adjectives). You find out where to properly place the parts of speech in a sentence. And oddly enough, in this part, you learn things about English you never knew
because no English teacher ever mentioned this grammar in any of your classes.

Part IV: Writing in the Past and in the Future
Part IV presents the two main past tenses in Spanish: the preterit and the imperfect.
You find out how to form each of these tenses, and you review the conditions where
they must be used. This exercise is particularly important because there’s no English
equivalent of the imperfect, making its use a bit strange to many people. You also see
how to express what you’re going to do in the future.

Part V: The Part of Tens
The three Tens chapters in this part will help you to improve your writing skills. I show
you the ten most common writing mistakes people make in Spanish so that you can
avoid them at all costs. You get ten tips that will show you how to write better sentences
and steer clear of common grammar mistakes. Finally, you discover how to select which
Spanish verb to use when two of them seem to have the same English definition.

Part VI: Appendixes
The final part is where you find the important reference material. Here you get multiple verb charts that give the conjugations for all types of verbs in all types of Spanish
tenses and moods. This appendix will prove to be an invaluable tool when you need a
quick reference guide. The other two appendixes in this part provide comprehensive
Spanish to English and English to Spanish dictionaries, to which you can refer when
you’re doing chapter exercises.

Icons Used in This Book
Icons are those cute little drawings on the left side of the page that call out for your
attention. They signal a particularly valuable piece of information, a rule that you
should consider to avoid making an unnecessary error, or a list of exercises that you
can complete. Here’s a list of the icons in this book:
Remember icons call your attention to important information about the language —
something you shouldn’t neglect or something that’s out of the ordinary. Don’t ignore
these paragraphs.
Tip icons are there to show you explicitly how to execute a task. Tips present timesaving tidbits that make communication quick and effective. If you want to know the
proper way to do things, check out the Tip icons first.


Introduction
The Differences icon points out certain differences between English and Spanish. If you
want to know how Spanish constructions differ from those in English, these are the
paragraphs you need to consult.
Practice icons flag exercises, which is where you need to go to put the grammar rules
you read about into action. Language theory is grand, but if you can’t apply it properly,
it really isn’t worth very much. The practice exercises are your golden opportunity to
hone your Spanish skills.

Where to Go from Here
One great thing about this book (and all For Dummies books) is that you don’t have to
follow it chapter by chapter from the very beginning to the (not-so) bitter end. You can
start where you like and jump all over the place if that is your pleasure. Each chapter
stands on its own and doesn’t require that you complete any of the other chapters in
the book. This saves you a lot of time if you’ve mastered certain topics but feel a bit
insecure or hesitant about others.
So, go ahead and jump right in. Get your feet wet. If you’re not sure exactly where to
begin, take a good look at the table of contents and select the topic that seems to best
fit your abilities and needs. If you’re concerned that your background may not be
strong enough, you can start at the very beginning and slowly work your way through
the book. If you feel confident and self-assured, skip right to the practice exercises and
see how well you do. Because each lesson is an entity unto itself, you can hop around
from the middle to the front to the back without missing a beat.
An important thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t a race and it isn’t a contest. Work
at a pace that best suits your needs. Don’t hesitate to read a chapter a second or third
or even a fourth time several days later. You may even want to repeat some exercises.
This is a book that you can easily adapt to your learning abilities. Remember, too, that
you need to have a positive, confident attitude. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. Everyone
does — as a matter of fact, many native Spanish speakers do all the time. Your main
goal should be to write and speak as well as you can; if you trip up and conjugate a
verb incorrectly or use the feminine form of an adjective rather than the masculine
form, it isn’t the end of the world. If you can make yourself understood, you’ve won the
greatest part of the battle.

5


6

Intermediate Spanish For Dummies


Part I

Reviewing the Basics


T

In this part . . .

he easiest way to get some Spanish vocabulary under
your belt and to feel like you’re making immediate
progress in your writing skills is to take a brief refresher
course so you can review the basics. The chapters in Part I
show you how much you already know.
I give you a rapid review of cardinal and ordinal numbers
and how to use them when expressing the date and the
time of day. I also present a quick grammar study. You’re
probably uttering a deep sigh at this moment, but this
lesson will make the rules throughout the book easier
to understand. Here you read all about nouns, pronouns,
verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, and you get an explanation
on how to use a bilingual dictionary so that you select
the proper part of speech each and every time. With this
strong foundation, you’ll quickly gain the confidence you
need to start jotting down your thoughts in Spanish.


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